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Goh Chok Tong “should be as strong as an Ox in the new Lunar Year”

'Every day is a bonus,' he writes after radiation therapy and is looking forward to vaccine shots




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Singapore—After his recent health issues, former Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong says he is “alright now and should be as strong as an Ox in the new Lunar Year”.

Mr Goh started posting on social media about his health in November last year, when he had first gone to hospital to have a kidney stone removed.

He sought medical help again a short while later for a biopsy on a suspicious lump in his larynx.

Cancerous squamous cells were found in the lump, but, “fortunately, after excision, the MRI of the neck and the CT scan of the chest showed no trace of these bad cells”, he wrote on Dec 16.

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However, the 79-year-old former Prime Minister still had to undergo 20 sessions of radiation therapy, beginning on Dec 23.

On Jan 19, he ended his radiotherapy sessions. A few days later he wrote, “Every day is a bonus,” despite suffering from radiation dermatitis from the treatment sessions.

All through his treatment, he has remained active, often posting on his Facebook page about the walks he takes around Singapore.

And now, Mr Goh is looking forward to receiving his vaccine shots to protect him from Covid-19. Although others in his age group have already got their first and even their second vaccine doses, Mr Goh’s shots have likely been delayed because of his recent health issues.

He wrote, “The risk of severe damage to my health, and even dying, from Covid outweighs the risk of adverse side effects from the vaccination.”

Mr Goh has written that he is open with his health screenings in an endeavour to encourage others also to submit to such medical examinations, especially because the Ministry of Health has a subsidised Screen for Life programme available for all Singaporeans.

He has pointed out that the early detection of a particular health condition could make a big difference in one’s chances of survival.

While Mr Goh stepped down from the political arena just before last July’s General Election after 44 years as a member of Parliament, he still has much to look forward to.

The second part of his authorised biography, Standing Tall, is scheduled for release this year. 

On Jan 23, he posted on Facebook that he had received a galley copy of the book. 

He added that he intends to launch the book in late April or early May, just in time for his 80th birthday. 

The former Prime Minister also wrote that the book has been read by PM Lee Hsien Loong and another friend, who described it as “enjoyable”.

“Hope you will enjoy the book when it is out,” he wrote.

Standing Tall will carry the subtitle, The Goh Chok Tong Years. The first volume of his biography, Tall Order: The Goh Chok Tong Story, was released late in 2019 and covered his life until he became Singapore’s second Prime Minister in 1990. 

The second volume is expected to cover the years of his premiership from 1990 to 2004.

Mr Peh Shing Huei, a former Straits Times journalist, wrote the two books.

Mr Goh in his Feb 11 post wrote, “I wish one and all a Happy Chinese New Year. 恭喜发财.”


Read related: Goh Chok Tong: Every day is a bonus

Goh Chok Tong: Every day is a bonus

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